Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Portrait of Miss Philip in Black

Portrait of Miss Philip in Black may have dated from between 1896 and 1898. 1

Walford Graham Robertson (1867-1948) described seeing in Whistler's studio 'a girl in black, painted I think from his sister-in-law, Miss Philip, standing by a table covered with a white cloth on which were silver tea or breakfast things. It was a large canvas, about the size of the "Rosa Corder", and at the moment most beautiful.' 2

During the winter of 1895-1896 Whistler's sisters-in-law, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) and Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), were helping to nurse his wife, Beatrice Philip (Mrs E. W. Godwin, Mrs J. McN. Whistler) (1857-1896), who was terminally ill. They may also have posed to him at this time, and certainly did so in subsequent years.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 480).

2: W. G. Robertson 1931 A [more], pp. 188, 193.

Last updated: 29th October 2019 by Margaret